When The Gospel Isn’t Good News

I remember driving my friends to church when I was in high school. One night, on our way home, I was pulled over. I remember it for two reasons. One, because it was the very first time I had ever been pulled over. And two, because one of the guys in the back seat had been arguing with me about the speed limit moments before we saw the flashing lights. He thought I should be driving faster, but I refused. Thus, I know I wasn’t speeding.

The cop tried to argue otherwise.

Now, arguing with a cop is never a good idea, but my perfect driving record was at stake. I was a good church girl and he had no right to suggest otherwise. After checking the IDs of everyone in the car, and doing a visual check to see if we had any illegal substances with us, he let us go without so much as a warning.

And he left me shaking.

His insinuation that I had broken the law rocked me to the core. Especially since I knew it wasn’t true.

When Good News Isn’t Good

This is the scene that replays in my mind when I think about sharing the gospel.

To suggest that God sent His Son to save the world, suggests that the world needed saving. To suggest we are in need of a personal Savior, suggests that we personally can’t hack it. And that doesn’t sound like good news.

In fact, it sounds offensive.

I imagine it would be accompanied by some of the same feelings I have when I think about that night so long ago. If someone would have stepped in and offered to pay my speeding ticket, I wouldn’t have saw it as good news. I wouldn’t have been grateful. Partly because the officer never gave me one, and partly because I knew I didn’t deserve one.

This weekend, Christians all around the globe will gather to celebrate the good news of the gospel. And people all over the world will question why it’s good news at all. They’ll look at us and wonder why we have bought into a lie, and they will scorn the fact that we think they should, too.

A while back, I shared an article on Facebook. It was a testimony of Christian love being lived out in a beautiful and real way. Both the Christian women, and the women they were ministering to were changed, and they both were thankful for the experience.

And then I was attacked for being a judgmental bigot.

To say that the women mentioned in the article needed loving in the first place made me evil, even though I didn’t write it. To suggest they needed saving, well, I might as well have accused them of speeding, even though they weren’t even in a car.

It broke my heart, but it also made me more aware of how non-Christians view the gospel.

Before the world can see Jesus as their Savior, they have to know that they need saving. And that’s something that’s really hard to tell someone who doesn’t believe it. The good news of the gospel, isn’t good to someone who isn’t ready to hear it.

The good news of the gospel, isn’t good to someone who isn’t ready to hear it… Click To Tweet

2 Ways To Share The Good News (in a good way)

So where does that leave us?

How can we share the good news of the gospel with a world that doesn’t want to hear it?

1.) Love Unconditionally

John 13:35 says, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

I think the answer really is that simple, even though that gets pretty messy.

If we simply love the people around us, with no ulterior motive, hearts will be changed.

2.) Make It Personal

For me, this reminder is to look for smaller windows. Instead of shouting at the world that they need a Savior, I’m reminded that we all have our own struggles. Jesus offers forgiveness to murders, but He also offers hope to the overworked mom. He offers freedom to the church girls who are trying to prove their worth. Extends grace to the high school girl that just failed her English test. Jesus freely gives mercy, comfort, love, redemption, refuge, rest, and so much more.

The good news of the gospel is that God sent His Son to save a world that needed saving. The work has already been done. The price has been paid. And that’s what we are celebrating this week. We are celebrating that God loved us so much, that He sent His Son to die for us before we were even born. And He did it. From the cross Jesus said, “It is finished.”

We celebrate the good news this weekend, because we know that it is good. We know it in the depths of our souls. And we naturally want to share it with others. We are called to share it with others. But we have to remember that not everyone is going to see it as good, and meet them where they’re at.

We all need Jesus, it just takes some of us longer to see it than others.

How will you share the good news this week?

Do you have any plans for sharing the good news of the gospel this week? Do you invite a friend or family member to church for Easter? Or do you have any tips or sharing Jesus with a world that isn’t ready to listen? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

We all need Jesus, it just takes some of us longer to see it than others. Click To Tweet

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This post is an edited excerpt from An Easter Devotional by Heather Hart, Valerie Riese, and Jessica Schneider. For more encouragement for the Easter season, pick up your copy from Amazon.com.


    1. Yes! There is so much power in our personal testimony, but we have to be willing to share it all. Not just the parts that make us look good. Because ultimately it’s about Jesus.

  1. This is very true. Many don’t want to hear and have preconceived conceptions about the faith. Thanks for the tips.

  2. I like just chatting with folks in parking lots, general remarks about the Lord to gauge reactions and go from there.

  3. Heather this was a great post. How very true, that the gospel can be offensive, but then we are not called to win them over, merely to present the message and we can do that with love and compassion. God will take care of changing hearts. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks, Amy. We are called to plant seeds, even if they fall on hard soil. God takes care of the rest. But sometimes, I think God can use His people to help soften the dirt.

  4. Love this! It is true that to admit that we are in the wrong can be very difficult. This is especially true when we don’t believe we are doing anything wrong at all. Understanding God’s ways when the world is so opposite of it, can take time. Keep loving and reaching out is the best thing we can do!

    1. It really is, Kristi. And my friend that attacked me for sharing a post, I had to bow out of the conversation, agreeing to disagree, because I knew arguing wouldn’t get us anywhere.

  5. Heather, I agree with you. It takes grace to know we need a savior. My husband counseled a couple where one was an agnostic and the other an atheist. He asked them what they do about forgiveness. They both agreed that was a real problem. I found that interesting. So maybe our busyness and cultural platitudes don’t work when we have a moment to be honest. We know deep down we fall short of God’s glory. Happy Easter!

  6. Such truth, and many unbelievers will tell one quickly that Christians are self-righteous. However, this season says it all well. He died at the hand of unbelievers, He gave His life because He wanted to, not because God made Him. He gave freely and willingly. I was thinking earlier today that what we must do is to “resist” (as the left has done the President), lol when the buggy man tried to deter our faith in Jesus Christ and The Cross.

  7. This is a great message, and so true! I used to be the indignant one on the other end of faith, resentful that people could think less of ME. I’ve often wondered how to break that barrier, now that I’m living proof of His saving – I especially like the part about sharing the gospel personally…good advice.

  8. This is a hard truth to swallow, for sure. The Gospel is the aroma of “death to death” to some, and the aroma of “life to life” to others. For awhile that left me pretty discouraged…and then I learned the testimony of one of the “spiritual powerhouse” men in my church.

    He was invited to one of the small groups at our church when he got to college and absolutely HATED it. He actively spread word everywhere he went that no one should set foot in our church…and then God got ahold of his heart and now he’s on fire for Jesus, incredibly gifted in evangelism and apostleship.

    So, just because someone may not want to hear the Gospel when you tell it to them, that doesn’t mean you aren’t sowing seeds for breakthrough down the road! Take heart! 🙂

  9. They will know us by our love – but some times people just aren’t willing to see it, are they? My pastor often says… love them, then punch them in the face. But if you punch them in the face first, they aren’t going to listen to a single word you say. 😉 I think often the key to sharing God well, is simply living Him well. Glad to be your neighbor at #graceandtruth this week.

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